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Here Comes Paul McCartney

20 June 2008

The Rolling Stones might have cancelled their big Republican Stadium concert last year and played a show in the Czech Republic instead, but now Kyiv can start getting ready to welcome another titanic rock act - Paul McCartney. Yes, it's true, Sir Paul is coming to play on Independence Square on 14 June of this year, courtesy of the Viktor Pinchuk Foundation. Good for you, Viktor!

 May more of Ukraine's super-tycoon class do the things you do! The idea of the musical legend coming to play Kyiv seems to have everyone in a tizzy already, with even the usually terse and business-like Pinchuk sounding like a star-struck flower-child lovingly clutching a copy of ‘The White Album' in expectation of the musician coming to play her town. "One could not imagine this 30 years ago," the powerful businessman said in a statement that accompanied the McCartney announcement. "Nobody could even dare to hope for this 20 years ago. One could only dream about it 10 years ago. Five years ago we could only envy our neighbours for whom this became a reality. And finally the day has come. For the first time we have the opportunity to hear the songs that changed the world and created a new culture. The songs that we grew up with and became who we are.'"Good lord, Pinchuk might be getting sentimental in his ad vancing age. "There is much more to what unites people than what divides them, and in reality it's not an impossible task to become a better person and to make the world a better place, especially if you do it all together." That's right, Viktor - all you need is love, baby! But seriously, what other Ukrainian tycoon who had tons of money rain down on him in the 1990s is doing positive things like this? (Sure, Rinat Akhmetov's company hired Bryan Adams to play European Square, but let's face it, good old Bryan isn't Paul.) Not only did Pinchuk's wife, working through her AIDS foundation, bring Elton John to Independence Square last summer, but the PinchukArtCentre has done more for the Ukrainian art scene in the last couple years than all the official Ukrainian cultural organs have done since Stalin cracked down on modernism back in the late 1920s. Will Ukraine's cultural divisions heal, and its fractious politics improve, after Paul and his band finish playing their set of Beatles and Wings songs? We doubt it. But this is still excellent news. McCartney has always had his heart in the right place. He was one of the first big Western acts to play Moscow after the Soviet UNI0N's fall and he supported New York City firemen after 9/11: he's a good guy. And now he's going to raise the general mood here in Ukraine.

Source: what's on